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I'd like to install Ubuntu on this little g4 I've found... I hope to get a better performance than Os X 10.4, is it possible?

I thought about using a server minimal install and then put on it gnome, xfce, lxde and fluxbox to find out the best user experience / performance ratio.

Any ideas or experiences about such kind of G4?

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I changed the title to avoid people down voting your question (you had other distributions). – RolandiXor Dec 7 '10 at 14:38
Oh! Excuse me and thanks a lot :) – Pitto Dec 13 '10 at 13:27
up vote 1 down vote accepted

As for using a lighter window manager, try using the LXDE GUI interface. It runs lighter than Gnome & even XFCE.

It should install from the repositories & give you an option to use LXDE at login.

I would not recommend Lubuntu as is fairly new to the scene. I run Xubuntu with the LXDE GUI on a PIII with good results.

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Lxde is totally the choice nowadays! You are a far seer :) – Pitto May 3 '13 at 16:28

Xubuntu or Lubuntu might go good on this. Give a few live cds a try. I certainly know Ubuntu will run however it might not be very reactive. Stuff will still get done fast though you might spend some time waiting for firefox to come up. :)

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Thank you for answering! You think it's worth to try an Ubuntu flavour looking for a performance boost comparing to 10.4 Mac Os x? – Pitto Dec 6 '10 at 22:01
Well they all share the Ubuntu core. I have faith in their performance however that is around the minimal hardware most will run smooth on. If you just want performance, shop around a bit, though I would give Xubuntu a go. – NightwishFan Dec 7 '10 at 0:15
lubuntu should do the trick. – RolandiXor Dec 7 '10 at 14:36

It's a G4, so a powerpc processor (ppc). Most distributions have either a current version or older version that works with ppc. Ubuntu itself has a ppc version, however it's a bit larger than a single cd, so you'll need a dvd to install it. I've never tried to work with Ubuntu PPC because of the dvd thing (we don't have dvds where I might be putting ubuntu on a ppc computer).

Arch also has a ppc flavor, again, I've never used Arch before, so I don't know if it's any good or not.

I have tried to get Arch running on a Power Mac G4. I couldn't get the computer to read my disk, but this might have been a combination of using a bad type of disk and not burning it correctly. I'm going to try again soon (Thursday), I'll attempt to report my efforts if you want.

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Good point, I forgot all about PPC. Perhaps try Debian as it has a supported PPC version, though Debian might be harder to set up. Ubuntu has a PowerPC version but it has no official support: – NightwishFan Dec 7 '10 at 3:17
Hence my little thing on Arch. – dkuntz2 Dec 7 '10 at 3:26
You can use Ubuntu-server (burning it on a single cd) and then install the desktop packages manually sudo apt-get install gnome-desktop :) – Pitto Dec 7 '10 at 20:29
I don't think there's a server ppc version... – dkuntz2 Dec 7 '10 at 23:41
Of course there is and it's sweetly reviving my wallstreet! You can find everything here: – Pitto Dec 8 '10 at 15:24

Having as much as 512MB RAM means that Ubuntu will install using the normal Live CD. Ubuntu doesn't officially support the PPC architecture any more, but most software from the current release should work fine. Debian still has PPC among its official targets.

Generally I think the CPU power will be sufficient for many tasks, including web browsing (minus Flash videos) and watching movies. As to comparative performance relative to OS X, only a test will tell. Ubuntu - and Linux in general - has the advantage, though, that you have more ways of influencing the configuration, such as using a lighter window manager and disabling desktop effects.

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What amazes me is the impossibility to watch flash videos on older machines... When did we start to enjoy youtube? On Pentium 4... Is my G4 that slower? – Pitto Dec 7 '10 at 20:28

I have my own answer too :D

I think the best (speaking of performance / usability) will be lubuntu or..

This little guy: (now it works with ubuntu packages too :D)

I'll keep you posted :)

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Try MacPup to believe ;) Thanks to everybody for the heads up! – Pitto Dec 13 '10 at 13:26

I've installed, and now I'm writing from an iMac G4 with 2 GB of RAM (but I've started from 512MB and it was ok) it's a 1,2 Ghz CPU.

Ubuntu 10.04 LT installs really fine with absolute no problems...LiveCD works greats. Interface is reactive.

I found very big problems using Internet with flash due to here flash is provided by GNU/Gnash and to me let the CPU to 100%.

I think in my case 10.04 is mature for production on iMac G4.

If you can, where is possible, I advice you to compile application trying different performance options and test differences.

You can just directly install the standard Ubuntu release and then install LXDE packages and do the right login on GDM.

PcmanFM as a desktop manager (replacing nautilus) is very light I'm using it everyday, but it's not strictly necessary, you can just switch off the desktop manager and browse files directly with PCmanFM file manager when you need.

You need to focus all resources to the focused application under your eyes (i.e Firefox) using one application at time when is possible.

Firefox is very hungry at all for a 700Mhz CPU (the RAM it's ok), just try to use a tab with gmail and tons of mail in it with a tab of Facebook you'll see that something wrong will be happen near...

Reduce to the minimum the use of swap with the swappiness option...the disk is a very bad bottleneck.

If you can, upgrade the RAM to the maximum possible with the speediest RAM possible, this make the difference...I did it these days upgrading to 2GB...applications thanks for oldest RAM are cheap to buy new...

Do not hesitate to contact me privately for more information about my experience...

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